Continuing our journey down the east coast of Northland a couple of weeks ago. We spent a few days catching up with friends and visiting Auckland to investigate a high-profile building covered in carvings done by Barry’s great grandfather in the late 1860s.
On Sunday 11th October, we found another cool free campground in the car park of Whangerei Falls Scenic Reserve. After enjoying the spectacle of Rainbow Falls, we were aghast to discover a waterfall of similar height with no safety barriers in sight to prevent anyone from stepping off the edge. It gave me goosebumps. I could imagine a small child wandering into the river, walking along the rocks, and toppling to their death. Maybe it’s just me and my active imagination?
We didn’t hear any blood curdling screams overnight, so got out of there swiftly the following morning!
A Detour To Whangaparoa
We had a great excuse to detour off the main route to Auckland and explore the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Friends of ours, who used to live in Gisborne, bought a house there a few years ago. We hadn’t seen them since their wedding in February 2013. It’s north of Auckland, but was recently ‘made’ a suburb which I’m guessing put the house prices up significantly!
We’d spotted a ‘free’ spot at Gulf Harbour, where we could camp up for two nights. We hadn’t realised until Barry went for a stroll shortly after arriving, that from there we could walk across the car park, literally two minutes away, and catch one of the regular ferries across the bay to Auckland. Far better than driving into the city and attempting to park which we’d intended to do the following day.
We caught up with Carly, Simon and two of their three gorgeous children for coffee the following morning. The weather had really turned to custard by now. Raining, windy, and pretty miserable.
Afterwards, we jumped on the Gulf Harbour to Auckland ferry, which was enjoyable, despite poor visibility. Especially on the outward journey. One thing we noticed immediately was all the construction work going on along the Waterfront. Possibly in anticipation of next year’s America’s Cup that NZ is hosting?
MIQ and The High Court Auckland
We had two missions for our visit to Auckland. One was to see another friend, Jill, in MIQ (Managed Isolation and Quarantine) at the Stamford Plaza. She’s always had a brilliant sense of humour, and although it’s been stretched somewhat lately, she was in high spirits. We took a few supplies that were dropped off at the allocated place behind the hotel. She’s now hooked on Pineapple Lumps and Kiwi Dip! Check out Barry’s superb slideshow at the end of this post for awesome shots of Jill’s greeting to us from the seventh floor of the Auckland facility.
Auckland High Court Ancestor
In March 1866, Barry’s great grandfather Anton Teutenberg sailed to New Zealand from Germany. Already proficient in egraving, during his voyage, he learned to carve using only a pocket knife. All the stone heads and gargoyles on The High Court building were carved by him.
“Ferdinand Anton Nicolaus Teutenberg was born in Hüsten (Neheim-Hüsten), Westphalia, Germany, on 4 December 1840, the son of Franziska Koppeins and her husband, Ludwig Teutenberg, a gunsmith to King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia. Anton (as he was known) learned his trade as an engraver with his father, and served two years as a military conscript.
His brother Frederick, said to have been a mercenary who travelled to New Zealand with Gustavus von Tempsky, encouraged him to leave Europe for the South Pacific. On 11 March 1866 Anton, with his sisters, Ida and Franziska, and a nephew, Carl Jansen, left Hüsten for England and New Zealand. They arrived at Auckland on the Rob Roy on 19 July.”
“As an engraver and medallist Teutenberg was without peer in New Zealand. His reliefs are always high, his strikings sharp, and his hand engraving remarkable in its fineness and beauty. As a sculptor he must be especially admired. His heads are lifelike and recognisable; his gargoyles beautifully grotesque. A large collection of material from his workshop, including dies, waxes, tools and test strikes, was presented in the 1960s to the Numismatic Society of Auckland.”https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/2t37/teutenberg-ferdinand-anton-nicolaus
After our catch up with Jill, we walked about half an hour to visit the court. Barry took loads of images of the outdoor carvings. He then managed to talk his way inside for photos of the heads that hadn’t suffered the effects of weather.
Once again, check out the slideshow at the end for an array of gargoyles, varying faces and heads from the court. I bet you didn’t know Barry had such a famous ancestor? It doesn’t take a genius to work out how Barry inherited such excellent skills as a photographer when you read about his famous great grandfather. Wow!
Leaving Auckland Then Returning
The ferry ride into Auckland just after midday had been rather subdued with only half a dozen passengers. It was a different kettle of fish on the return journey just before 5pm! fancy commuting each day by ferry, around 45 minutes each way? Not me thank you! It was pleasant for a day trip but …
Returning to the car park, Barry decided to move the campervan and park as close to the ocean as possible! You’ll see below the distance between us and the sea. Rather surreal, but perfectly safe. We were gifted with a super sunset full of promise. Sure enough, next morning, Wednesday, we looked out of the back doors and gasped. There on the horizon was The Sky Tower and Auckland skyline! We’d not seen it the day before as it’d been so overcast.
Before we left, I popped back into the cafe we’d been in the day before for a ‘to go’ Flat White – and to see how it looked in the sunshine. Like everywhere it was far better with a blue sky.
We then headed to the RV Supercentre in Albany for a new cassette seal. Blimey, we’re both I’m missing our pump-out loo on the boat! All those narrow boaters who think cassettes are better must be completely crazy. What’s there to love, apart from the fact that you don’t have to pay to empty it? In the supercentre, we discovered all manner of useful things for the van, as well as thankfully the last seal.
After our little shopping expedition, it was straight through and onto the Southern Motorway. Driving on the Auckland Harbour Bridge was a real treat.
“Originally constructed between 1955 and 1959, the Auckland Harbour Bridge is New Zealand’s largest bridge and the one with the largest span.”https://www.engineeringnz.org/programmes/heritage/heritage-records/auckland-harbour-bridge/
On September 18th, a 127km/hr ‘freak wind gust’ blew a truck into the bridge which damaged a strut. The struts weigh several tonnes, with a length of 22.7 metres so it was no mean feat to replace it. The bridge was closed overnight, and then many of the lanes closed for around two weeks until the new strut was trucked down in two pieces from Whangerei, and the bridge cleverly repaired. The only other route into the city involves a long diversion, so there was chaos for commuters for a while.
We were relieved when we went across the traffic was flowing freely. It’s quite a special journey as you’ll see from the video below:
Thankfully that’s it for motorways for a while!
Barry captured a few super images of this part of our journey to share. I highly recommend you watch them as a slideshow :
(Click on an image to view the slideshow)